Are Removed from Play Attacks a problem in 40k, or fun?

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Hey everyone, Reecius here to discuss a hot topic in our favorite pastime: removes from play attacks.

First of all, what is a “removes from play” attack for those that may not know? It is very much what it sounds like: an attack or action that causes the target to simply be removed from the game with no saves of any kind allowed. These are the most devastating attacks in the game.

Back in the old days, we didn’t have too many things that could outright remove a model from the game. Jaws of the World Wolf was the worst offender and even then, I think it is safe to say that most folks considered it to be a bit much…unless you were the Space Wolf player! I joke of course, I played Space Wolves and felt that JotWW was way over the top, as did many others.

Now though, we have a host of things in the game that have the removes from play effect. Primarily we see this in D weapons and stomp attacks. They may not have that exact wording, but their effect is identical or near enough. While D weapons specifically have been toned way down, they still have that nasty sting that can end a game decisively.

When either a D weapon or a Stomp rolls a 6, they erase what they hit, ignoring saves. What this results in is a very large “gamblers” effect on the game. I have seen quite a few instances where one players rolls a 6 and in effect, wins the game. Or, in reverse, where a player fails to roll a 6 and loses the game. What I mean by this is say, you are playing against a Knight, and assault it with your Chapter Master on a bike with command squad. The Knight stomps on the unit, rolls a 6 and your Warlord is now a greasy stain on the ground, regardless of his EW and 4W.

With ranged D weapons, this can be even more pronounced. In the example above, the Marine player would have at least been able to swing as he got splattered. With ranged D attacks, if you have nowhere to hide, it can be brutal.

What do you all think about this? Do you enjoy that random element of high risk, high rewards? Or do you not like the fluky nature of removed from play attacks?

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47 Responses to “Are Removed from Play Attacks a problem in 40k, or fun?”

  1. Charlie January 7, 2015 12:32 am
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    If you lose a game based on failing a single 1-in-6 chance roll then you were already losing, gambled and still lost. That is not a rules problem.

    • DarkLink January 7, 2015 9:32 am
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      Bullshit. Every game you inherently hoping your opponent doesn’t roll 6’s, and in many cases it’s impossible to avoid exposure to some of these risks. For example, Grey Knights do not have the guns to kill Imperial Knights. The only option beyond hoping you roll super well and that the Knight fails all its saves is to get in combat and hit it with hammers. It’s the only reasonable strategy available other than swotching armies. But if you try it, and the Knight rolls a couple 6’s… congrats, you probably just lost the game. Hope you at least had fun.

      • Charlie January 7, 2015 1:38 pm
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        It is not a rules problem, and you have identified the solution yourself—improve your army list so you don’t have to depend on desperate gambles to win. If you choose to keep playing a list that can’t kill Knights then the fault is with you, not the rules.

        • AbusePuppy January 7, 2015 2:02 pm
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          When your opponent forces you to take the gamble- such as by using an attack that makes the test- you can’t really call it the fault of bad army design. If I lose a character to a Tesseract Labryinth or similar effect, it’s not typically going to be because I made bad choices. I didn’t CHOOSE to fail the test- the dice dictated that part.

        • DarkLink January 7, 2015 5:05 pm
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          That’s also bullshit. You’ve completely missed the point I was trying to make. Grey Knights -have- no options for killing Knights. To kill Knights, your only recourse is to basically play a different army. That is fundamentally bad rules design.

          • TinBane January 7, 2015 5:25 pm
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            What poppycock.

            What you need to do is play grey knights unbound, and use tactical squads as your troops, so you can get meltaguns. You should take some assault marines with infernius pistols, and some sternguard with combi-meltas.

            Hell, just take a blood angels list with draigo as the HQ. There you go, problem solved. 😛

            Seriously though, DarkLink has a point. Knights are a hard nerf against elite armies, as a side effect of being ruled into the game as some form of counter to invincible death stars.

            Knights are the Cane Toads of 40k. Introduced to smash the seer star, but generally good at killing the elite lists that were already having a hard time.

          • Wren January 8, 2015 1:05 pm
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            Pure crap, hammernators and Dreadknights can ruin a Knight’s day.

  2. N.I.B. January 7, 2015 1:08 am
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    On the contrary, the Red Terror’s swallow attack is too little of a problem. I want it up there with Stomp attacks cost efficiency.

    As for Knights, I can stomach the D, but not affecting anything outside the combat it’s involved in.

  3. Siphen January 7, 2015 1:15 am
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    I think that remove from play abilities are okay, as long as they allow some sort of save. The Space Wolf Helfrost ability, for example, I think is fine. The opponent can play around it using positioning, look-out-sir, and armor/invul saves. Sure, there will still occasionally be games where you lose that 4W Eternal Warrior character to a single lucky shot. It will still be frustrating, but bad luck is part of the game. I don’t think that’s any worse than failing a crucial 4″ charge or failing a Ld 10 check and running off the table.

    On the other hand, we need to consider that a lot of the big offenders are supposedly “balanced” with this ability in mind. I don’t think a Chapter Master should be able to go one-on-one with an Ork Stompa for 10 rounds (not that a Stompa is overpowered at all – just using it as an example).

  4. WestRider January 7, 2015 1:15 am
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    I’m not a fan, myself. Low odds, high impact effects inherently take control of the game away from the Players and put it in the hands of the dice. They’re effectively impossible to balance, because in any given game, they’ll be either ok or devastating, without the large number of trials that allows the randomness of lesser effects to more or less even out over the course of a Game.

    That’s actually why they work out ok in Apocalypse, now I think about it: The scale of the game is large enough that there are enough D shots for the law of averages to start coming into play within the course of a single game, and there are so many powerful Units on each side that the sudden loss of any given one of them isn’t crippling.

    But at regular 40K Points values, there just isn’t enough room to put in enough redundancy without going hardcore MSU and basically removing huge chunks of every Army from the game.

    • tag January 7, 2015 3:01 pm
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      Well said.

  5. iNcontroL January 7, 2015 2:10 am
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    Within reason imo. Stomps can be brutal but generally speaking the only things that do stomps are 300-400+ points of beef… they SHOULD include attacks like that imo. Considering only a 6 on a stomp truly does a lot of damage.. 2-5 won’t hurt anyone kitted for assault and is really only useful for thinning out hordes. D flamers are obviously insane and shouldn’t be allowed. Apocalyptic blasts that do D are again too much. Ranged D can be brutal and having been on the wrong side of a Lynx I can see why people would hate it.. that said it really is limited in the ITC meta and that seems manageable. I think if it became much more common it would be a real problem.. there is of course no clear threshold for this but I would just say keep it limited!

    • Jeremy Veysseire
      MikhailLenin January 7, 2015 8:51 am
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      Hey Geoff is Reece referring to our game where your Hierodule rolled 2 “6” Stomps and wiped out my Command Squad Biker Deathstar on the first turn?

      • iNcontroL January 7, 2015 11:34 am
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        Not that I know of but he very well could be haha!

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 7, 2015 4:38 pm
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        Lol, maybe!

  6. War Corgi January 7, 2015 3:56 am
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    I don’t see any issues here except for players who kit out individual characters to the extreme. Don’t want to lose a 300 point character to one role? The easy fix is to not run a 300 character. Worried that your 850 Death Star might be destroyed by a rampaging super heavy vehicle? Tone down the Death Star. By diversifying your army appropriately, you mitigate the chance that one role loses the game for you. I know that the current meta pushes a lot of players to make the most beat stick characters and units they can kit out, just understand the risks when facing an ever increasing number of ways to lose them with a single roll of the die.

    • Comrade_Nikolai January 9, 2015 1:12 am
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      Don’t want to lose your psychic warlord/army lynchpin? Just don’t take any synapse…

  7. Damon January 7, 2015 4:34 am
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    Ultimately it’s a mechanic to counter deathstars and the characters that lead them, ironically generally by using a similar amount of points to gain access to it. While I do agree that it takes away control from the players by the high risk high impact effect, I also think it helps tone town certain builds (Remember that ranged D weapons also do the same to vehicles, and takes away the cover save). I think a D shot can help diversify the game a little bit, though unfortunately it generally means you also need to bring something specifically to deal with the platforms they come on.

  8. Adam O'Shovah January 7, 2015 6:21 am
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    I would like to see a 6 on the Stomp or D table result be a 2W attack with no save of any kind. Sure, it might outright kill a Broadside, but my Commander might survive. Or at least provide a 6+ cover or allow FNP for double outs.

    • Thomas January 7, 2015 7:07 am
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      I think that 1d3+1 wounds would be a fair level of damage. If it only do 2 wounds you know that you can take a bad stomp without losing your beatstick character. The risk/reward then favours said betastick character. By using 1d3+1 you still lower the damage level over all but up keep the risks high, as they should be.

      No save should mean just that, if you open up a backdoor people will start to exploit it to lower their risks.

      • japatoes January 7, 2015 10:46 pm
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        Or maybe strength 10 wound with no saves. Still ID most things, but other things like wraith knights aren’t getting removed from play by a stomp from a smaller knight.

        • Thomas January 8, 2015 6:27 am
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          S10 isn’t strong enough. If you can take the hit, and lot of beatsticks can, you stand losing a single wound. I think a w4+ character or monster should not be autokilled on a bad D-hit or stomp, but they risk being killed.

          • Japatoes January 8, 2015 1:18 pm
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            True, I’m mainly talking about stomps.

  9. Cavalier January 7, 2015 7:26 am
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    I’m fine with it… I rarely run into and like Incontrol said… it usually comes at a very high price tag… even with IC’s like Asurmen it seems factored into the cost and usually requires some hot rolling to come into effect.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 7, 2015 4:39 pm
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      Yeah, I get the feeling that a lot of folks share your sentiment. It’s either a general, meh, or a really strong no.

  10. z3n1st January 7, 2015 9:00 am
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    D weapons don’t have a remove from play mechanic (maybe the stomp does but regular D does not).

    In regards to how I feel about it, meh with the way its been toned waaay down from previous incarnations I think its fine. Stomps are a bit wonky, but keeping the attacks allocated to units in combat seems the right way to handle it.

    Honestly I feared the whole ‘mini-titans’ and super-heavies in normal games initially, but after playing against quite a few, and playing some myself I find they add quite a bit to the game.

    • AbusePuppy January 7, 2015 2:05 pm
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      Str D is not technically a “remove from play” effect, but it functionally can be- virtually no model in the game can survive the Deathblow! result on the Str D table. (Technically speaking, a handful of superheavies/GCs can, but even those are rare and dependent on the player rolling low on the dice for damage inflicted.)

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 7, 2015 4:31 pm
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        Yes, it is in effect the same. Only other Super Heavies have any hope of surviving.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 7, 2015 4:38 pm
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      You’re played it more than most, so thanks for sharing your opinion.

  11. DarkLink January 7, 2015 9:08 am
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    I play GKs, an elite army. I utterly rely on being difficult to kill, because that, along with being good in combat, is about all Grey Knights have. So when an opponent tells me ‘Ive got this ability, on a 2+ or whatever your models just die and there’s nothing you can do about it’, my response is ‘this is crap, why didn’t I just bring my Eldar?’ Not good game design.

    • Charlie January 7, 2015 1:55 pm
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      Congratulations, you’ve just reapplied the old false logic of “I chose not to bring melta, now I can’t kill Land Raiders, the game is broken!!!” Your list design is not good, that is the problem. Time to adapt.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 7, 2015 4:38 pm
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      Yeah, I am not a fan of removes from play, either. I don’t hate it at all, but it feels like a heavy handed solution and can be so game changing on what is essentially pure luck.

  12. Thomas January 7, 2015 10:49 am
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    Just this past weekend my Chaos Sorcerer and 5 plague marines got stomped with a 6 roll. Typhus and 5 terminators got blown up by a plate size blast and before that, each shooting phase 8-10 plague marines were deleted by the same template. In turn 4 I gave up as all I had left out of my 1850 Death Guard army was 4 models. Fun – hell no. Could I damage the Stompa ? Yea. Weapon Virus, Melta Guns, Melta Bombs, Two Predators, Powerfists and Chain Fists. But that 4++ bubble and repair rolls made that Stompa a god.

  13. Canadianbrit January 7, 2015 12:00 pm
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    I like the idea that the 6’s cause instant death instead of remove-from-play. The number of knights will most likely equal or outnumber the amount of eternal warriors their opponents have, so just because one chapter master ties up one knight the other knights are free to rampage but the marine player can potentially take them down one at a time.

    I agree with the sentiment that it simply shifts the meta away from deathstars and back to MSU-based lists; it’s neither good nor bad, just different.

    Personally I’m against any type of ranged D-weapon as I like the idea of playing chess against a knight as opposed to praying I don’t die vs a lynx, but I have no good arguments to back up my feelings.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 7, 2015 4:35 pm
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      You aren’t alone in that. We let in the Lynx, and it has gotten some flakk. We’re trying to let in more LoW, but, they so easily go to overboard. We will see how the exit poll goes after LVO.

      • z3n1st January 8, 2015 8:37 am
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        When taking that exit poll, sure would be nice to have it weighed against people that ACTUALLY faced those weapons vs just chiming in. Otherwise your scale is only going to be perceptions instead of experience.

        • Canadianbrit January 8, 2015 10:56 am
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          while we’re discussing scientifically correct polling; you would not only have to ask z3n1st’s question, but also then ask whether or not the people who answered the question and played against a D weapon won or lost versus that army.

          Back to the Lynx, I would make the unbeatable argument that it is at the top of the broken scale because Grant likes it so much, and we all know he has a powerful gaydar for OP units 🙂

  14. Cuddles January 7, 2015 12:13 pm
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    There are other things that do this, like the Black Mace. As pointed out above, most units that have these capabilities are over 300 points, which makes sense. I agree that in certain contexts, such as 1500 point games, ranged or large flamer attacks with the D ability are a little over-powered. Then again, people were running around with 2+ re-rolls (some still do), and that is a nice way to greet them.

    I think changing the rules is fine, but if you are, make sure that you don’t get rid of the only rock for a certain scissor.

  15. tag January 7, 2015 12:19 pm
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    I hate “Removed from Play”. I’ve had the opportunity to stomp multiple catacomb command barges to death at once via rolling 6’s on more than one occasion, and that is random, and not fun. It is the reason I still consider Strength D, Stomps, Lords of War, and Imperial Knights to all be JV rules writing not ready for the big time. More suited for a garage game of apoc and drinking than a tournament or even a friendly pickup game at the local game shop.

    The problem is that it is wildly out of proportion with all other possible outcomes and can alter the course of a game with a single lucky dice roll.

    I’ve benefited much more from Stomping 6’s than it has hurt me, but I despise it because every time I win a game that way it feel illegitimate.

  16. Silver puppy January 7, 2015 4:23 pm
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    RfP is a good rule, and the game we are playing does not need balance. Its a table top “war” game correct? is war balanced?

    Explain why a kitted out “biker-commander-ultra-lord-eternal-blah” should be able to charge in with his hammer pen Knight titan 2 times and roll 2 5+ results and blow it up in a single round of combat, but a rule allowing a knight the possibility to do the same is somehow not “balanced”.

    Everyone wants there Toy Soldiers to win in the end, justifying that one is over powered because it makes a unit that should be nigh unkillable killable seems like a non issue. If you bring one pony to the race and it breaks its ankle you dont win the race…..

    40k has entered an “arms race” on the tournament side that seems to have no end. People scream for balance from one side of there mouth while stacking up AdLance Formations, Invisible deathstars, and anything else that can be used to leverage there own lists to position that makes them unbalanced against the “meta.” So many people want this to be a tournament game, but is that really possible? Why don’t we instead look at NASCAR for a template, you have rule stacked upon rule stacked upon limit, can this approach not be used in “competitive 40K”?

  17. TinBane January 7, 2015 4:56 pm
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    Do I hate it? No.
    Do I hate what it represents to me? Yes.

    GW created a system of game mechanic.
    They scaled the mechanic from 1 – 10, but it was mainly aimed at skirmishing.

    90% of troops, are within a point of “human” on this scale.
    But they throw around high stats, like candy.

    So what do they do when they want to scale up? Instead of increasing the scale, or adding an additional “high register” scale of damage for apoc/super heavies, they’ve basically created an “11” that is out of proportion.

    D and stomp are 11

    There isn’t an option, between STR 10 and D.
    It in effect, adds half a dozen special rules, in one go. I’d have rather seen them allocate str 11, 12, 13 … 20 for super heavies, and said that where these strengths interact with units in the 1-10/not superheavy scale, they add bonus rules instead.

    Do the same for super-heavies with toughness 11, 12, 13 … 20. They get bonus rules, when shot with <str 11 weapons.

    And while I'm at it, get rid of the armour values, and add a rule where the vehicle type has variable toughness arcs, and is immune to poison. Vehicles currently add a lot of weirdness to the game, that made sense in 2nd and to a lesser extent 3rd. But it's a lot of stupid exceptions and record keeping, that the game could in fact do without, in my opinion.

    Man up GW 😛

  18. Johnny Kryptonite January 8, 2015 7:44 am
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    No problem with RfP or str D. They are a valid answer for deathstars which are worse and these attacks feel pretty mediocre against MSU strategies.

  19. Jural January 8, 2015 1:15 pm
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    It’s part of the game now, and I’m withholding full judgment until I play quite a few more games.

    I will say that I don’t think I’ve had an issue with true Super Heavies, but it seems Knights get access to D strength way too easily for the points. But strangely, against one knight it doesn’t feel awful, and against a swarm of knights it doesn’t seem bad. The 2+ knight list supported with other Imperial forces seems to be the most problematic to me, maybe it’s because the armies aren’t as one dimensional as the all knight list, and aren’t as avoidable as the one knight list?

  20. z3n1st January 8, 2015 1:39 pm
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    I personally have no issue with the RFP weapons, I would like to play the game (and army) I purchased instead of the game of house rules it is slowly becoming.

    Deathstars are simply here to stay, they have been here since 2nd edition (or RT if anyone remembers the deepstriking vortex wielding Phoenix Lord, and Chaos Twin Poles of can’t be killed) RFP and uber units have always been a part of this game. Curbing it because X is powerful is to me taking away from the game, I see the ATC format and long to return to something along those lines.

    The problem we are running into is the pick and choose format of rules we are adding/modifying. ATC makes it much simpler; Core Books/Codices, no FW. Instead of X unit but not Y, and only variation of Z, and rule K, L, T are modified as follows…

    I love that the ITC FAQ is making an attempt to CLARIFY rules, but I dislike the large number of actual CHANGES to the rules that exist in the FAQ.

  21. Johnny January 8, 2015 5:41 pm
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    I’d say put up a vote like the invisibility thing, I personally think D weapons and stomp are ok just when u roll a 6 it should allow you to still make a save but upon failing the save it should have the same effects.

  22. Archon-Kalafex January 8, 2015 6:49 pm
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    I always thought the 6+D6 was a bit much. Maybe an extra D3 would be more balanced. Think about it. On a 6 you ignore cover, invulnerable saves, and armor. That’s huge by it’s self! But to add an extra 6+D6 is crazy. I suggest toning it down to just an extra D3 or D6 instead of an outright 6. It would still devastate even with the nurf.

  23. Rich January 10, 2015 3:46 am
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    I am of the opinion that RfP and D are necessary to counter some of the deathstars but are maybe a little too harsh on units which are big, bad but not a star.

    I’d happily see stomp changed to something like S10 ignores EW. Give it a shot at hurting anything but not slapping a wraithknight out of the fight in a turn. Sure a chapter master might pull off his invul but the rest of his star likely wouldn’t.